Adjectives like ‘comfortable’, ‘neutral’ and ‘wearable’ (?) could be used to describe many New York collections, but originality, sexiness and trendiness certainly had to be looked for.
We saw dull colours, boring prints and traditional cuts, taken out of old-fashioned patternmaking books that were, once upon a time, used for mass production. Most brands offered the same safari shorts and the most classic of classic fitted dresses, while some even dared to show ankle-length pleated skirts, announcing the return of the tart look, making our ever-young mothers shudder.
The lack of experimentation and spirit is striking even for brands, well known for the good quality of their tailoring. We can’t be fooled by faux-minimalism when we discover whole collections deprived of unity, theme or purpose. There generally seems to be some difficulty in offering modern dressy clothes to a young clientele, which is yet increasingly demanding in terms of design.
Fortunately, quite a few brands showed more seductive looks. Among them, the excellent Australian born artist Michael Angel, who presented his debut collection in 2008. His careful blending of materials and juxtaposition of vibrant prints were the surprise of the week: a breath of creativity and youth!
Similarly, Christian Cota, who also trained as a painter and showed his first collection in 2008, created his own prints and chose his patterns accordingly. The free-floating ruffles of his long dresses along with the repetitiveness of the prints all express nature and its peaceful pace.
Another original approach was that of Ohne Titel founded by designers Flora Gill and Alexa Adams in 2006. Through their unique use of neoprene bodysuits as part of their garments, they decompose the female body, while redefining the relationship between skin and fabric.
Moreover, Marc Jacobs presented a well styled, coherent, joyful and easy-to-wear collection; A cocktail of M&Ms and flowers.
Gwen Stefani brought her taste for ethnic fabrics, bright colours and boho chic to her line L.A.M.B. Both girly and fun, her clothes will appeal to many extrovert seductresses.
In contrast, the Proenza Schouler duo succeeded in showing a credibly ‘classic’ collection. Their preppy-fitted, chic-but-conservative style is certainly their trademark. Playful strictness is contrasted by their unusual palette, ranging from rosy-pink to orange, yellow and red, without forgetting a slightly sporty touch.
A special mention for Davidelfin, the brand created by designer David Elfin, another painter, whose clothes are arty and imaginative, as well as for Z Spoke, a young line by Zac Posen, who designed a good humoured wardrobe for dreamy city girls.
All in all, we were once more reminded that there is quite a difference between making garments and designing clothes.